2018 KIA Optima Hybrid Review, Ratings, Specs, and Price

Known for masculine and sharp styling, the Optima hybrid is KIA’s offering in midsized hybrid sedan segment competing against competents like Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Chevrolet Volt.

The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid comes with an additional 38kW electric motor working in tandem with a 2.0L CVVT  DOHC Gasoline Direct Injection engine offering a combined power of 192 HP and 271 lb-ft of torque.

The price starts at $25,995 for the base trim and goes to $30,990 for the top end trim. The Optima hybrid with its surrealistic design language and competent ride is worth a consideration.

What’ll impress you

  • Competent ride
  • Sleek and sharp exterior styling
  • Simple yet functional interiors
  • Top Notch Safety rating
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto standard across all variants

What Won’t

  • Sloping roof compromises on rear headroom
  • No standalone EV mode available
  • Costly  additional safety package

What’s New in 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid?

The 2018 iteration of Kia Optima Hybrid carries over only minor changes in the color options and trim level content.

2018 KIA Optima Hybrid Trims and Features

The 2018 KIA Optima Hybrid is available only in two trims – The Premium and the EX. The base “Premium” trim is equipped with supplying features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Tire pressure monitoring and 7’ TFT Screen as standard.

The costlier “EX” trim offers more comfort features including heated and vented seats, heated steering, Harman/Kardon 10 speaker music system and lots more adding half a grand more to the cost.

Trim Premium EX
MSRP $25,995 $30,990


USB Connection

Satellite Radio Satellite Radio

AM/FM Stereo

Auxiliary Audio Input And USB With External Media Control

6 Total Speakers

3 Months Of Provided Satellite Radio Service

Features on Premium Plus:

Surround Audio Surround Audio (Discrete)

Harman/Kardon Premium Brand Stereo System

1 Subwoofer(S)

10 Total Speakers

Satellite Radio W/Real Time Traffic

630 Watts Stereo Output

Heated Steering wheel

We Recommend

The “Premium” trim with quality fit and finish inside and advanced infotainment with Apple CarPLay/Android Auto ticks all the right boxes and offers a value for money proposition.

2018 KIA Optima Hybrid Power and Performance

“The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid provides a smooth, comfortable ride. It gets worse fuel economy than some midsize hybrid sedans, but it’s very efficient compared to the class as a whole. It also offers a traditional six-speed automatic transmission in a segment that relies more on continuously variable automatic transmissions, which tend to drone noisily at higher speeds.”- cars.usnews

Engine and Transmission

Being a Hybrid, the Optima is equipped with a combination of two distinct powerhouses – a 2.0L CVVT DOHC gasoline direct injection unit delivering 154 horses and 140 lb-ft torque and a 50 horsepower electric motor pureeing 151 lb-ft of torque.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Engine
2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Engine

The duo is mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox producing a decent combined power rating of 192 HP and 271 lb-ft torque.

Models Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
MSRP $25,995 $25,500 $27,800 $34,095
Engine 2.0L CVVT DOHC I4 GDI 2.0L GDI Atkinson cycle DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder 2.5L I-4 DOHC Hybrid 1.5L Direct Injection (DI) DOHC 4-cylinder
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic CVT Automatic CVT Automatic
Power 192 hp 193 hp 208 hp 149 hp
Torque 271 lb-ft 140 lb-ft 163 lb-ft 294 lb-ft

The Toyota Camry LE with its bigger 2.4L DOHC engine combined with an electric motor acts as a major contender to the Optima with its colossal power of 208 HP. The Korean sibling (Hyundai Sonata) however shares similar performance figure and the Chevrolet Volt lags behind with 149 hp on cards generated through a small 1.5L DI DOHC Engine.


The Optima Hybrid is a turn off in acceleration race taking 8.1 seconds for 0-60 MPH ramp up which is 0.1 seconds slower than its Korean sibling the Sonata SE. The leading light in this department is the Toyota Camry clocking a mere 7.2 seconds for 0-60 MPH from a standstill. Even the underpowered Chevrolet Volt manages 0-60 MPH in 7.8 seconds.

Models Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
0-60 MPH 8.1 8.0 sec 7.2 sec 7.8 sec
Quarter mile 16.2 sec 16.3 sec 15.6 sec 15.9 sec
Engine 2.0L i-4 2.0L i-4 2.5L i-4 1.5L i-4

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

4.2 4.2 3.4 1.3

The observation is akin in the quarter-mile chase as well where the Optima Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata shares almost similar clock time close to 16 seconds. Meanwhile, the Toyota Camry bangs on with a straight win with a minimal clock time of 15.6 seconds. Surprisingly, Chevrolet Volt again overtakes The Kia Optima at 15.9 seconds.

Handling and Steering

The absence of a CVT complements this machine and makes up for a sporty ride feel.  The steering feels responsive and the phenomenal suspension setup harmonizes for an agile and athletic drive. As a bonus, the superior handling doesn’t come at the expense of a harsh ride.


The Optima Hybrid travels the longest 127 inches of distance for coming to a standstill making it the worst performer in braking department in comparison to the rivals.

Model Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
Brake Front(in) 12.0 12.0 12.0 10.8
Brake Rear(in) 11.2 11.2 11.1 10.0
Curb Weight(lbs) 3486 3497 3472 3543
60-0 MPH (ft.) 127 121 125 120

The Hyundai Sonata sharing the similar mechanicals to the Optima decelerates within 121 inches. The Chevrolet Volt despite being the heaviest can come to a standstill within 120 inches beating even the lightest Toyota Camry traveling 125 inches for a complete stop.

Fuel Economy

The Optima Hybrid ties with Hyundai Sonata and Chevrolet Volt with a combined mileage of 42 per gallon. The individual figures vary slightly for city and highway drives respectively.

Model Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
MPG (City) 39 40 51 43
MPG (Highway) 46 46 53 42
MPG (Combined) 42 42 52 42

The Toyota Camry outstandingly performs with a leap forward in terms of fuel economy with an alluring range of 51 MPG in the city, 53 MPG and 52 MPG combined respectively.

2018 KIA Optima Hybrid Exterior

The 2018 Optima hybrid is entirely based on the non-hybrid version with subtle differences in a couple of badges, aerodynamic alloy wheel design and an active air flap at the front. The elongated dimensions, sloping roofline and futuristic front with a unique central grille ornamented with long chrome strip reflect an athletic and kinetic design language.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Rear Profile
2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Rear Profile

The overall design integration is well proportionate, looks attractive from almost every angle and makes a bright street appeal.

Dimensions and Weight

The 2018 Infiniti Q70 weighs 3486 lbs which is 11 lbs lighter than the mechanically similar Hyundai Sonata. Due to a similar platform, even the exterior dimensions of the two are quite close.

Model Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
Curb weight(lbs) 3486 3497 3472 3543
Length(in) 191.1 191.1 192.1 180.4
Width(in) 73.2 73.4 72.4 71.2
Height(in) 57.5 57.9 56.9 56.4
Ground clearance(in) 5.1 5.1 5.7 5.5
Wheel base(in) 110.4 110.4 111.2 106.1
Track width(in) F/R 63.5/63.8 63.5/63.8 63.0/63.2 60.6/61.8

The smallest envelope is in the Shape of Chevrolet Volt with the smallest wheelbase of 106.1 inches, Toyota Camry being the longest at 111.2 inches and The Optima stands in between at 110.4 inches.

Exterior Features:

Some of the exterior features include:

  • Active Aerodynamic air flap
  • Aerodynamic 18’ alloy wheel design
  • Projector beam headlights
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • LED Rear Combination lights

2018 KIA Optima Hybrid Interior

“The Optima’s interior, regardless of model or trim, isn’t especially exciting visually. That said, it serves its functions well. The feature set makes you feel as if you’re getting a lot more for your money, although the quality of materials feels a bit mediocre.”- edmunds

Seating and Comfort

The top trim is coated with extra comfort features inclusive of heated and vented seats, 12-way power seat adjustment with lumbar support. The seats are firm and supportive and the adequate quilting provides substantial lumbar support.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Interior
2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Dashboard

The center console housing the TFT screen, and the climate control vents are surrounded with brushed aluminum highlights reflecting a premium touch. The cabin is airy, full of light with no signs of even the slightest claustrophobic feel. The inside volume is comfortable with the segment-leading head room and leg room on offer.

Model Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Passenger Volume (ft cube) 102.6 106.1 99.9 90.3
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)


39.8/58.1/35.6 40.0/57.9/45.5 38.3/57.7/42.1 37.8/56.5/42.1
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)


37.8/56.4/35.6 38.0/56.5/35.6 37.6/55.7/38.0 35.8/53.2/34.7

The top of the line EX-trim also offers optional 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat with lumbar support taking passenger comfort to next level.

Interior Features:

Here is a list of the standout features in the 2018 Optima Hybrid’s cabin:

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors
  • LED Interior Lighting
  • Rear Side-Window Sunshades
  • 12-way power adjustable and heated front seats
  • Rear Air Conditioning Vent
  • Smart Key w/ Push-Button Start and Immobilizer
  • Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC)
  •  Rear Parking Assist System (RPAS) with Rear camera display
  • Dual USB Power Outlets & 12 V Power Outlet in Rear Console
  • Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column

Optional features include:

  • 10-Way Power Adjustable Front Passenger’s Seat, w/ 2-Way Power Lumbar Support Reverse
  • White Leather Seat Trim
  • LED Interior Lighting


The 2018 Kia Optima hybrid offers exceptional infotainment system even on the base variant with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto feature and a 7” TFT Screen. The sound is taken care by a 6 speaker standard setup with MP3/AM/FM and USB options to stream your favorite music.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Infotainment
2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Infotainment

The Top trim is topped with next level sound system developed by Harman /Kardon with surround sound 630 Watts and 10 speaker setup for the music enthusiasts.

The standard infotainment system consists of:

  • Six speaker audio system
  • 7″ Touch-Screen Display
  • AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Bluetooth
  • Steering mounted stereo and cellphone controls

Trunk Volume

The Kia Optima Hybrid with its smart hybrid battery storage design stands second in trunk capacity with a humble 13.4 ft3 of available volume suitable for small family trips and excursions.

Model Kia Optima Hybrid Premium Hyundai Sonata SE Toyota Camry LE Chevrolet Volt (LT)
Volume (ft cube) 13.4 13.3 15.1 10.6

Toyota Camry is a stellar in cargo capacity offering a more generous 18.7 cubic feet of available trunk volume. The Chevrolet Volt offers the least trunk capacity of 10.6 ft3  

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Head-to-Head Competition

Hyundai Sonata SE

Sharing the same mechanicals and platform, the Korean counterpart Hyundai Sonata offers almost similar specs and features at almost the same price tag. The main differentiating points are the almost double torque available and more agile and responsive handling in the Optima Hybrid with a futuristic and sleek styling favors the latter.

Toyota Camry LE

Toyota Camry has got a lot more to offer in its bag than the Optima Hybrid. Be it the outright performance in terms of acceleration and braking or the frugality, the Camry outshines every aspect and with the more reliable Toyota badge, it stands as a concrete deal to attract a lot of takers.

Chevrolet Volt (LT )

Despite being the costliest in the fleet, The Chevrolet Volt doesn’t offer exceptional performance or a feature-rich experience. The small engine and small dimensions with small fuel economy make it a rather pricey offering with lesser value.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Safety Ratings and Features

IIHS gave 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid their maximum rating of ‘Good’ in all their crash tests.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Ratings
Small overlap front test results Good
Moderate overlap front test Good
Side impact test Good
Roof strength Good
Rear Crash Protection Results Good

The overall rating of Optima Hybrid by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Safety Ratings (Out of 5 stars) is not available as of now.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Safety Ratings (Out of 5 stars)
Overall Rating 5 Star
Frontal Crash 5 Star
Side Crash 5 Star
Rollover 5 Star

The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid adds a wide range of standard safety features including:

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags
  • Dual Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
  • Driver’s Side Knee Airbag
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist System (BAS)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • High Line Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Internal Emergency Trunk Release

 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid final Verdict

The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is a modern car with unique features like active air flap and aerodynamic wheels; it offers sharp handling capability without compromising on the passenger comfort. But when compared with Toyota Camry, the latter offers top-notch performance figures and a stellar fuel economy figure that can put any rival to shame at a marginal additional cost making it a more lucrative pick.